Sunday, May 30, 2004

CNN asks Florida court for ineligible voters list

The No Confidence movement gains stronger traction with each passing day. Our challenge is less about convincing America that her democracy has deteriorated to a myth, and more about framing our plan as the best response. It is time we take responsibility and stop allowing ourselves to be lied to.

Read the CNN article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)


A Florida state official acknowledged to CNN that the 2000 list contained errors -- in particular that it included felons convicted in other states, who are eligible to vote in Florida.

The 2004 list, according to the official, has been corrected to include only felons convicted in-state.

County elections officials were provided with the new list, as well as a list of voters who were possibly wrongfully denied the right to vote in 2000, and were asked to review both lists and submit any corrections to the state.

The official said that "most" of Florida's 67 counties had responded, but could not provide a specific figure.

This article is dated May 28, 2004, just one day after this Miami Herald article I wrote about. From that piece:

With less than six months to go before the presidential election, thousands of Florida voters who may have been improperly removed from the voter rolls in 2000 have yet to have their eligibility restored.

Records obtained by The Herald show that just 33 of 67 counties have responded to a request by state election officials to check whether or not nearly 20,000 voters should be reinstated as required under a legal settlement reached between the state, the NAACP and other groups nearly two years ago.

33 of 67 is a far cry from "most." This is all happening in the open, right before our eyes.

"There is no basis for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections."

Read the No Confidence resolution.

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Saturday, May 29, 2004

Revisiting November 28, 2000

On November 28, 2000, as we awaited the outcome of the presidential election, I wrote the brief essay below. It has never been published though I did circulate it to the GuvWurld mailing list. I don't think I would call it prescient but it is striking to re-discover that three and a half years ago I spelled out something so similar to what has more recently taken the form of the No Confidence movement.

With the "appearance of impropriety" omnipresent in our recent Presidential election, doesn't it cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

If so many Americans believe that their voting process has become dysfunctional, shouldn't this cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

Having cast a vote, each of us is supposed to know that we did our part to elect our next set of leaders. Yet we are in fact helpless to influence the outcome of events in Florida. Will the election be determined by legal wrangling or concession, vote totals or fraud? No matter which seems to be the ultimate basis for declaring a winner, many will scream injustice. Doesn't this uncertainty cast doubt on the legitimacy of any eventual outcome?

When developing nations hold elections, the media usually report on the impartial international observers. Now the whole world is watching us. If any world leaders are indeed scrupulous, shouldn't *they* contest the legitimacy of the recent U.S. Presidential election? Could you imagine if impartial voices of reason from around the world helped us to hold up the mirror displaying our own ridiculous image?

In the final analysis, either foreign powers will choose not to recognize our next government or the entire world will be complicit in our illegitimacy. Either way, it would not only serve us right, it will be what we deserve.

Returning to the present, 5/29/04...

The madness we are experiencing need not be viewed in terms of "whose fault" it is. But looking back on this essay makes it pretty damn clear that we all should have known from the start that we were letting this happen. Can we possibly let it happen again? Does anybody really want to get into contingency planning for what to do in the event of another uncertain election outcome? Our time will be better spent making absolutely sure that this scenario will not occur. This is the goal of the No Confidence campaign.

"We have no BASIS for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections."

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

FL Eliminates Witness Requirement For Absentee Ballots

Miami Herald Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)


"The problem with doing away with the witness signature should be obvious to anyone who has lived in Miami. Absentee ballot fraud has long been a problem in South Florida, with candidates often buying ballots, or worse, stealing them from unsuspecting people in nursing homes and condominiums. A city of Miami election in 1997 was overturned after such fraud."

"By taking away the witness requirement, the governor and the Legislature not only made it easier for corruption to take place -- which in itself is a fairly amazing feat -- but they have also made it more difficult to catch."

As if we need another reason to say: "We have no BASIS for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections."

Read the No Confidence resolution. Get involved.

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GA Sec. of State Shills For Diebold

It gets worse each day, and will continue to do so until enough No Confidence measures have passed that a tipping point is reached and this whole government is thrown out.

American Politics Journal Article (in GuvWurld Archive, links to original)

Also see Bev Harris's BlackBox Voting story from March 2003 for more background on the "rob-georgia" scam referenced in the APJ piece.

There is no BASIS for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections.

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Florida Voter Rolls, Binging and Purging

This article from the Miami Herald portrays a chaotic scene: small bunches of voters disenfranchised in 2000 have had their rights restored while thousands more remain in limbo due to overdue reports from counties who now may blatantly screw them a second time; meanwhile thousands more are about to be pushed into electoral limbo as another list of "potential felons" comes out. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why is the burden of proof on the voter who has been falsely accused rather than on the accuser who must surely have evidence of a conviction (whereas an innocent couldn't have proof of not having been convicted).

This story alone makes it difficult to see anybody claiming that US elections are beyond reproach. This story alone creates sufficient doubt to make the case for the No Confidence movement.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Indiana TV Station Investigates - Will Your Vote Count?

WISH-TV in Indianapolis, IN did a two part story called Will Your Vote Count? I have e-mailed the two reporters with the No Confidence Campaign Primer.


“With the voting machines, it's no single instance that is, by itself, great cause for concern, but it's the number of them that continue and the possibility for more.” --Purdue University's Eugene Spafford, one of the nation's leading computer security experts.

“It's one of those areas of a leap of faith. That you really do have to have a faith in your local jurisdiction, that they are conducting equitable elections in the best faith of the voters.” --James Ries, president of Indianapolis-based MicroVote which has been making electronic voting machines for about 20 years.

In addition to these articles, tonight I did a way too brief 5 minute No Confidence presentation for the members of WILPF. The articles and the meeting both suggest yet again (as did Rebecca at last week's meeting with members of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee), that the emphasis belongs on the lack of a BASIS for confidence. It certainly isn't going to be faith, as Ries suggests above. If anything, unquestioning acceptance has gotten us where we are now. Besides, is that really the best BASIS for maintaining confidence, especially when so many examples suggest trust is no longer warranted?

It is getting unequivocally easier to win support for the No Confidence movement. If you can remember the uncertainty of 2000, you can imagine it happening again; and if you can imagine it happening again, then by definition you lack some degree of confidence. You don't need to be able to say you've got "No Confidence." If you lack even some degree of confidence your doubts question the BASIS for confidence. If you are tired of being lied to, stop believing.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

The No Confidence Campaign Primer

The uncertainty following the 2000 election invites everyone to imagine another disputed
outcome this fall. Demonstrating the likelihood of this uncertainty, the following talking points are abbreviated from the No Confidence resolution scheduled to be considered on July 7 by the Arcata, CA City Council.

unreliable machines
known to be susceptible to fraud
shielded from public scrutiny by companies with obvious conflicts of interest

disenfranchisement of 2000 now exposed
media failure to be timely caused drastic manipulation of public opinion
disenfranchisement continues to target African Americans, Hispanics and college students
disenfranchisement has been institutionalized in the Help America Vote Act

no touch-screen recounts in Florida
uncertified machines used in Georgia, Indiana and California (including Humboldt County)
untested machines certified in Texas

The validity and legitimacy of elections should be beyond question. But how do we know what to believe?

The premise of the entire campaign: There is no BASIS for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results reported in United States elections.

We are currently building a consensus in the community that will make it clear to the City Council it is necessary and appropriate to pass this resolution.

Our efforts to pass this statement are an extraordinary display of thinking globally and acting locally.

As with the 300+ anti-Patriot Act resolutions, we expect this is the first of many No
Confidence resolutions and our carefully selected wording aims to ensure a cumulative impact as each additional community chimes in.

We will trigger this domino effect by calling for repeated consideration of the question: "has the Consent of the Governed been withdrawn, YET?"

The Consent of the Governed is the self-evident truth cited in the Declaration of Independence as the basis for Government's "just Powers." Contemplating withdrawal of this consent is not a stretch when you consider it is not really being sought.

The Declaration of Independence, the ultimate manual for change, also says "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government".

By encouraging other communities to join the No Confidence movement, the domino effect being triggered will build to a tipping point. A national consensus will determine when this time has arrived and what changes it should bring.

The summary of the overall strategy: this resolution is a trigger mechanism for a domino effect that will build to a tipping point.

We do not presume to speak for the entire country. No one person nor even one community could bear the entire burden of remaking democracy. In the interest of turning our national dialog towards encouraging competition in the "free market-place of ideas," we offer the following suggested reforms as a starting point for discussion:

A national holiday on Election Day
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)
Proportional representation
State by state elimination of the winner-take-all system (or complete termination of the Electoral College)
Public campaign financing
National standards for election machines (or no machines at all)
An explicit determination that money does not equal speech and that corporations do not have the same rights as humans

Campaign volunteers are encouraged to use the ideas above for letter writing, targeting
editors of local publications as well as high volume internet sites.

Volunteers are also needed to create and disseminate posters and leaflets, and to collect signatures.

Community outreach will continue as I meet with more civic groups and as more volunteers
inform their neighbors.

This campaign will benefit greatly from word of mouth. New people should be asked merely to talk about it with one other person - it's "the least you can do."

The No Confidence resolution is posted here with links to document claims made above.

Get involved.

(Last update: 6/12/04 3:00am PST)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

WILPF Schedules No Confidence Presentation, VFP To Vote on Endorsement

WILPF (Women's International League For Peace And Freedom)
Monday, May 24th
Meeting begins at 6:30pm, No Confidence presentation should be around 7:30
101 H St., Arcata (Marsh Commons)

Today's other significant development: Veterans For Peace Chapter 56 will vote whether to endorse the No Confidence resolution on June 3rd in the same room as above.

I know there are people reading this now because I've met some of you. I saw some of you at Arcata City Hall tonight amid the strong showing for the Corporate Personhood resolution (which passed 4-1, authorizing a series of town hall meetings designed to produce a ballot measure for November).

We have entered a new phase of the campaign. New people are learning about it but not directly from me. This word of mouth will be a powerful catalyst. From now on, each new person to be introduced to the campaign should be asked to discuss it with one other person. Each person is essentially asked to do "the least you can do."

Still, now is a good time for volunteers to start doing more aggressive and focused outreach, such as tabling and signature collecting, writing articles and letters to the editor, and oh, say, talking to neighbors. Email me if you have questions or suggestions, or else have at it. The goal is to build a consensus that will make it clear to the city council that they should pass this statement as a reflection of the sentiment of this community.

Today I also spoke with Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi. He gave me generally favorable marks for yesterday's meeting though he suggested going even further out of the way to focus on voting without evoking defensiveness from people about Mr. Bush or Iraq. Mr. Machi is attempting to arrange audiences for me at the Rotary and Kiwanis. If possible, it would be great to get video of those presentations.

It's starting to look like June 16th might be a target date for the City Council to consider the resolution. I think that means it has to be submitted for the agenda by the 7th or 8th. It's time I wrote a new refined summary introduction to the campaign. I'll post that by the end of the weekend and add a link in the right column.

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DU Exposure Found in Soldiers Returning From Iraq

This should come as no surprise though you'll find many people totally unfamiliar with Depleted Uranium. This is how the US has put nuclear weapons right into the field. Americans are being exposed and the Iraqi landscape is being radioactively polluted for eons to come.

In These Times Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)

The GuvWurld archive sections Sabotage and Military both have lots of examples that show how the US government has acted against the interests of its own people. There are so many, in fact, a second No Confidence resolution practically writes itself (some assembly required).

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

No Confidence Pitch Gets Refined

Thanks to Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi, this morning I made a presentation to Rebecca Lesley and Gene Joyce of the executive committee of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Both of them had read the No Confidence resolution before the meeting, and I appreciated the respect.

As this campaign is introduced to broader sections of our community, I am determined to develop a consensus. I am also focused on how to pitch the idea to different groups. This morning I started seeking agreement on two basic foundational contexts for our discussion.

First, I was NOT speaking on behalf of a business, party or other organization. I was there as a concerned American citizen and as a neighbor. I asked that everyone make an effort to focus on what they really think rather than the imagined response of a group.

Second, I determined (yet again) that everyone old enough to remember the recount of 2000 seems to be capable of imagining an another uncertain outcome this year. It is important that we take responsibility for ensuring this doesn't happen again.

My premise is verbatim: We have no basis for confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results that will be reported from the upcoming election.

We did not spend much time on the whereas clauses comprising the grounds for the resolution. Not all audiences will be as current on the news. Informing/educating people will be a huge part of the consensus building campaign.

Rebecca asked how I would appeal to people who feel like they're losing faith but who might not be prepared to support No Confidence. The response is to focus on BASIS for confidence. What are they clinging to that lets them believe this is absolutely positively going to be a legitimate election with a certain and agreed upon outcome? Elections should be beyond question.

The majority of the meeting focused on the resolve clauses. As usual, the idea of triggering a domino effect was simple. The question is what to do after the tipping point? Of course this is appropriate to ask and it is something on which we should all collaborate to determine. This response continues to draw people in, specifically inviting them to answer "what would be better?"

Gene stated clearly that he would want the resolution to take an extra step at the end which would begin to describe the systems we'd like to put in place. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), proportional representation, and public campaign financing were all mentioned and I agreed we could work on such language.

As long as I can engage people in making the resolution better, more appealing to more people, then this is the best support I could want. In retrospect, I didn't really make any kind of "close" in the sales call sense where I might have asked what next steps they could commit to. It wasn't so necessary here but I'd do well to have some help with a volunteer coordinator. For now, please e-mail me if you're ready to get involved.

Though I'm glossing over them here, we did get into some of the headier points about Consent of the Governed. For more context read this. It felt colossal and I very much enjoyed talking directly about the language in the Declaration of Independence.

Overall I felt like this was well received. Mr. Machi mentioned he would try to arrange presentations with other local civic groups.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Support the Truth

Through my recent contact with the Veterans For Peace, I met a highly decorated former Army air medic named Dennis Kyne. A veteran of the first Gulf war, Dennis's recent book is called Support The Truth, a brief and blunt exercise in speaking truth to power (read the Idaho Observer review).


"...why do we as humans see killing and death as normal and acceptable?...killing and death are not acceptable, however, it is easy to understand that as long as we perceive them as such, wars will continue to occur."

"Not only did Americans slaughter Americans in Operation Desert Storm*, not only did Americans slaughter innocent civilians and the environment, not only did Americans lie to Americans and the international community about nuclear weapons programs, America did lose the war. It was lost strategically, statistically, qualitatively, politically, and most of all economically."

*Kyne cites an MIT study showing 75% of American deaths in Gulf War I were due to friendly fire

"In January of 2000, The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a special report on incarcerated veterans...18,500 Persian Gulf War Veterans are in prison."

Dennis Kyne has a long family history of military service and an unimpeachable reputation himself. That he is speaking out is an example for others and an educational opportunity for the rest of us. In particular, Dennis is striving to raise awareness of Depleted Uranium (DU), the radioactive waste the US has used to implement the world's smallest nuclear weapons. I touched on this a little bit last month, but here you can listen to Dennis and other renowned experts speaking at the World Uranium Weapons Conference in Hamburg, Germany last October.

Dennis is currently touring the country by bus, selling his self-published book for $5 and couch surfing with fellow Veterans For Peace. Beyond DU, Dennis's broader theme shows how the US military chews up and spits out its human capital, leaving the world and America's defenses worse for wear. Dennis exposes the myth of the US propaganda line "Support The Troops," demonstrating the least supportive agent of all is the US government. Dennis is well educated, articulate and supportive of the No Confidence movement. I am honored and we are all fortunate that my new friend will now be taking the message of our campaign on the road with him.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

What is the Consent of the Governed?

What would it look like if the general public created the federal budget? I bet schools and health care wouldn't be the sore spots they are.

Twice in the past year I have talked to Phil Korman, Director of Development at the National Priorities Project. The NPP website shows the federal budget in great detail. I proposed the creation of a comparison, called the People's Budget, which would be developed by allowing site visitors to allocate their prior year's tax burden across line items as they see fit.

A lot of important and strong conclusions could likely be drawn from the differences bound to appear between the two budgets. My initial thinking was related to "taxation without representation," that our representatives are spending our money without regard for how we want to see it spent.

The No Confidence movement has brought me to another angle. This campaign is addressing the Consent of the Governed, a phrase found in the Declaration of Independence, ordained as the source from which Governments derive just Powers. It now occurs to me that the US government has long since stopped seeking this consent, instead acting with impunity, presiding over not constituents but unquestioning subjects (look at what we've been subjected to).

It is often said that no one can take advantage of you unless you let them. Americans haven't had a way to keep the government's behavior strictly within the bounds of the public's consent. For the most part, though not entirely, prior to the Bush administration the government seemed to play along with an invisible and unwritten social contract that at least maintained the illusion that representative bodies were acting on our behalf and at our behest.

For all its bravado, shamelessness and deception, this administration can at last be seen as having crossed the ultimate line in the sand - they don't even pretend to seek the Consent of the Governed. Actually, if they do pretend, it is in the form of the sham elections we are aiming to stop with the No Confidence campaign. The Consent of the Governed seems to be an especially vulnerable blind spot which can now be targeted from multiple directions.

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The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012

The Guardian UK ran a piece on Thursday called America's Military Coup. It begins to show the historical roots of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld perverting the checks and balances of American government and military.

Demonstrating why such an exploration is, at the least, timely, the article ends with the following:

"In 1992, General Colin Powell, chairman of the joint chiefs, awarded the prize for his strategy essay competition at the National Defence University to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dunlap for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 (.pdf). His cautionary tale imagined an incapable civilian government creating a vacuum that drew a competent military into a coup disastrous for democracy. The military, of course, is bound to uphold the constitution. But Dunlap wrote: "The catastrophe that occurred on our watch took place because we failed to speak out against policies we knew were wrong. It's too late for me to do any more. But it's not for you."

The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 is today circulating among top US military strategists."

This 12 year old essay is well worth your time, as these current military strategists are also concluding. It is 13 pages with another dozen of exhaustive footnotes. It may be too soon to confirm the author's prescience, yet it is not difficult to trace a clear trajectory from the origins being referenced in the late 80's/early 90's through today and onward toward a predictable future we should all hope to avoid. The essay's clincher, quoted above by the Guardian, is reminiscent of another historical quote in wide circulation since 9/11:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

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Friday, May 14, 2004

No Confidence Presentation Tentatively Set With Arcata Chamber of Commerce

I spoke with Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi earlier tonight. He is a self-proclaimed moderate who has never been registered with a political party. He considers himself to be in the minority on the Council. And he emphasized the clear point of last night's chat which was that he wants to see consensus building.

Now it just so happens that the banner beneath the title of this blog carries a wonderful consensus building meme. "What would be better?" is going to see to it that objections or concerns that may be raised are turned into improvements, or perhaps concessions, in the language of the Vote of No Confidence resolution. The strength of this frame is the certainty that the resolution is supported.

Mr. Machi said it was a simple thing to arrange for me to meet with the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. The time will be confirmed on Monday.

Two other things I thought it was great to hear. Mr. Machi claims the mantle of swing voter on the Council. And he will be "very impressed" with me if I get support from the Chamber. I appreciate the fairness of his "show me" attitude given that he is giving me a stage on which to have my requested audition.

Although I know Mr. Machi has reviewed the resolution I don't know if he is keeping current with this blog. I also don't know his opinion on my ongoing commentary here but as far as I'm concerned this is part of the transparency of a public project. It is in the interest of this endeavor's goals to be making updates available and I look forward to seeing the comments feature get used as the readership here picks up.

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Hear the KMUD Interview (.mp3) re: Vote of No Confidence Movement

I am immensely gratified to have other people volunteering their time now to make tangible steps forward in this campaign. Thanks to Charles M. for converting this audio file. Click here to launch an .mp3 of the recent KMUD interview.

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Confronting Administration Apologists

So much of GuvWurld is about new strategies for change. As with the great exchange with Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi that I reported last night, it is important to be able to convert opponents into allies. BAGeL Radio (listen), an excellent online radio station for all sorts of hip new music, peppered with political commentary, has published a great essay with suggestions for Confronting Administration Apologists (in GuvWurld archive, links to original).

It is necessary to understand that the great schism dividing this country is intentionally manufactured by people clinging to power by turning us against each other. It is also essential to recognize that the differences separating us are almost entirely about language. Both sides want freedom, liberty and justice. In order for us all to have these things, we must learn to talk to each other in ways which acknowledge our differences are not with each other but the leaders who have betrayed us.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

VNC Resolution Gains More Momentum

Thanks to the members of Veterans For Peace Chapter 56, and to the other community members who attended tonight's meeting. One guy drove quite a distance after hearing the KMUD interview this morning. The wife of Arcata City Councilman Michael Machi also heard me on KMUD talking about building a consensus to support the Vote of No Confidence resolution. Mr. Machi approached me after the meeting and asked what I was doing to win over audiences less friendly than VFP 56. I looked him in the eye and said that magical political cliche: "I want your vote." I asked him who he wanted me to convince so that he would feel as if supporting the resolution would be accurately representing his constituents. He didn't name names but he did say I could call him tomorrow to discuss arranging an audience.

As for VFP, there was a real openness to the idea. The next step is to have them consider endorsing the resolution when they meet again in three weeks. There are also now a few people who have volunteered to work on actions, perhaps collecting signatures. This cause would be well served by some voices other than mine getting into the community and stirring up conversation.

I also made contact with some leaders from WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom). I expect they will get me on the agenda for their next meeting but I don't yet know when that will be.

Finally, I must publicly ask for assistance in setting up this blog for automated subscriptions with individual, daily digest and weekly digest options. This is not an RSS thing and I can't seem to find anyplace that has stock code to set this up. Perhaps someone who knows PERL can help? Please e-mail me.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

KMUD Interview

This afternoon I was interviewed by my local community radio station, KMUD, regarding the No Confidence campaign and the Vets For Peace meeting tomorrow night. The conversation was recorded and aired for the first time just a few minutes ago. It will replay at 8am PST on Thursday 5/13. You can tune in at

I taped it from the first broadcast and hope to be able to create an .mp3 for the archive so there can be a permanent link. More when that happens...

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The Scorpion and the Frog

The fable of the scorpion and the frog has been heavily referenced over the years (Google). The summary is that a trusting frog dies by the sting of a kamikaze scorpion who kills them both simply because it is his nature.

If the American public allows another sham election we will be no different than the frog. We know for certain that we are lied to, deceived and defrauded at every turn. We have no basis for maintaining confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the results that will be reported in the upcoming elections.

Read the Vote of No Confidence resolution.

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How do you know what's real?

I just saw a little TV news for the first time in a while. It was KTVU from San Francisco. The coverage of the torture at Abu Ghraib was sanitized and grossly oversimplified. Half way through the segment the story turned to the pictures and videos not yet released which allegedly depict rape. The point was clearly to cast doubt in advance of the public unveiling. How clear? Berkeley photojournalism professor Ken Light was interviewed, resurrecting this story from February in which a classic 1971 Ken Light photo of John Kerry was altered to include Jane Fonda.

I don't see a transcript of it right now on but what got me was when Light said something like "How do you know what's real?" This idea completely punctuated the end of the segment. I was really glad to see that thought pushed out there. This needs to start coming from all over. It is at the core of the No Confidence campaign.

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

VNC Resolution Has Been Updated

Taking into account the input heard at last week's meeting at the Redwood Peace and Justice Center, I have significantly revised the Vote of No Confidence resolution. This is still subject to further change, especially based on further feedback from last week's meeting attendees. The current version of the resolution will always be found here:

with prior drafts remaining accessible via postings in the GuvWurld News Archive.

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Friday, May 07, 2004

Election Boards Blocking College Students From Voting

This story beefs up the disenfranchisement element of the No Confidence campaign. It is not just African Americans or people whose names are similar to those of felons.

"Federal and state courts have clearly established that students have the right to vote where they go to school, even if they live in a dorm. But interviews with college students, civil-rights attorneys, political strategists and legal experts reveal that election officials all over the country are erecting illegal barriers to keep young voters from casting ballots."

Rolling Stone Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)

Meanwhile, 14 year old California students have managed to advance legislation out of the Senate Elections and Reapportionment Committee in Sacramento that would lower the voting age from 18 to 14. A reasonable debate can be had over what age is appropriate for voting eligibility. However, what is not quite right about this story, even if you support the age reduction, is the idea that 14 and 15 year olds would be counted as 1/4 of a vote and 16 and 17 year olds would be counted as 1/2 a vote. This is a convoluted form of disenfranchisement happening even under the guise of broadening civic participation.

See the San Francisco Chronicle Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original).

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Resolution Update

There was a spirited discussion at the Peace and Justice Center tonight and I am energized by the commitment to follow-up pledged by a solid core group. There were three goals planned from the start and we achieved each of them.

1. Get buy-in for a local campaign to get active and vocal support in the community for passage of a statement at the City Council.

2. Consider suggestions to improve resolution wording.

3. Start a dialog about what happens after the tipping point.

Here are some random highlights...

The next draft of the resolution will see the Whereas clauses narrowed to address only voting related issues, though the many that exist will each get their own mention.

A consensus emerged that calling for resignation is not the best final resolve.

We did not reach consensus on an alternative though we did discuss the nature of what it ought to be.

This speaks to the core of the strategy whereby the first Vote of No Confidence resolution to pass should serve as a trigger mechanism for a domino effect that leads to a tipping point.

More than any other social change issue or movement, this strategy provides a greater degree of control over the circumstances of the tipping point. It is, however, contingent upon finding just the right angle so that each successive resolution to pass automatically multiplies the pressure.

Ongoing discussion and more clearly imagining the circumstances of the tip will provide the needed guidance for revising the final resolve.

Our campaign should have a dual purpose educational element to it. This will enlighten the uninformed about how the electoral process has lost all credibility and legitimacy; and it will pre-emptively argue against the points perceived to be most likely to come from opponents.

Some new outreach opportunities were suggested. This should lead to more media attention, more speaking opportunities before community groups, and a small pack of other places approached with our idea virus.

Look for a new draft in the next two or three days.

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The Case For Imprisoning Bush Made in The Free Press (Columbus, OH)

I tend not to put straight opinion pieces into the GuvWurld archive but this essay makes a powerfully blunt case that punctuates the landscape of critical journalism. It should be of interest anytime something or someone breaks new ground (even if it is only new to you).

Read it.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Vote of No Confidence Editorial in Arcata Eye

The Arcata Eye has published this editorial I wrote to create context for and interest in the Peace and Justice Center meeting tomorrow night.


The voters of America and the citizens of the world have absolutely no basis for maintaining confidence in the validity and legitimacy of US elections.

Since the 2000 controversy, voting reform advocates have exposed many problems with touch screen voting machines including many tabulation irregularities, widespread susceptibility to fraud, conflicts of interest among the executives at the companies manufacturing the machines, states certifying untested machines, and outright bans on recounts. The most common response has been to call for voter-verified paper trails. This is not just inadequate, it is a red herring. I am writing to describe a better and more comprehensive way our community can lead for change.

The first step is saying we have no basis for maintaining confidence. Making this statement collectively will be a matter of careful wording. It will also be the catalyst of a broader strategy.

Voting issues are not the only reason for the erosion of confidence in the validity and legitimacy of US elections. It is now routine for public statements by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and members of the Cabinet to be quoted in print with information to debunk the statements appearing in the same sentence. Official dishonesty has become so prevalent that the only thing to be certain about is an uncertain outcome to the upcoming election.

Congress has repeatedly abdicated its responsibilities. A small sampling: passing a bill that members haven’t had a chance to read (Patriot Act); surrendering responsibilities that ensure checks and balances (war powers); empanelling white wash committees laden with conflicts of interest (Iraq intelligence, 9/11); and redistricting so aggressively that both parties acknowledge only a few races are considered competitive.

This last point could not be more important. The two major parties are engaged in a power-sharing model. This is simulated competition like professional wrestling or the Harlem Globetrotters. It is expected that the American public will enjoy the spectacle without really influencing its outcome. This makes a mockery of the “free marketplace of ideas” and effectively reduces American democracy to a myth.

We have no basis for confidence that our votes are deciding the fate of our nation. We certainly don’t have a basis for believing the election results that will be reported on the corporate-owned media outlets. Consider that prior to the war in Iraq, information known to millions of street protestors was largely blacked out in support of a pro-war agenda. This manipulation of the public is an utterly unforgivable and irreconcilable breach of trust that leaves no basis for confidence.

I have drafted a Vote of No Confidence resolution found here.

The Arcata City Council or any other elected body in the country could pass this resolution, or one similar to it. Given that 270 anti-Patriot act resolutions have been passed, it is not unreasonable to think that communities across the country will begin to consider their own Vote of No Confidence. To ensure this, and to capitalize on it, the language of the resolution I’ve written necessarily ups the stakes with passage of each additional resolution:

“We recognize that we are but one remote community and the first to collectively make such a declaration. However, we anticipate similar resolutions will follow. Whether it is the fifth, 50th or 100th such resolution, with passage of each such statement, we encourage contemplation of whether George W. Bush has effectively lost the consent of the governed.”

Without committing our community to a huge, drastic step, this approach creates a trigger mechanism for a domino effect leading to a tipping point. This is what I mean by careful wording to catalyze a broader strategy.

What happens after the tipping point? We’ll be discussing that at the Redwood Peace and Justice Center on May 5 at 6pm. We’ll also look at how the resolution I’ve written could be improved and what we can do to create demand for its passage.

Everyone is welcome but I want to add a special invitation for folks backing Mr. Kerry on the basis of “Anybody But Bush.” I ask that such folks consider first that Kerry is not in pursuit of peace. Second, as explained above, no matter how many people might vote for Kerry, there is no way to be assured legitimate results will prevail. Finally, this “choice” is still six months away. In the meantime, join us in pre-empting another sham.

If committing to this is difficult, try this simple challenge: first, see if you can picture yourself insisting we go through with this charade of an election; then, try to imagine yourself affirming that the results will be above reproach. If you can’t see yourself sold on both dead end stances, then surely all campaign rhetoric must be moot.

The views expressed here are my own but many, many people approve of this message. Keep your mind open…the future is coming.

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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Missouri Voters Favor None Of the Above

Washington Post Article (in GuvWurld archive, links to original)

Since beginning the No Confidence campaign I have not explicitly mentioned surveys or polls as targets of absolute doubt. I simply haven't seen the kind of evidence that justifies the No Confidence charges leveled in the Vote of No Confidence resolution. Still, it is hard to take surveys and polls seriously and as a society we would do well to discontinue featuring them as news.

That said, this article is about neither a survey nor a poll. This article reports on two focus groups:

"The two groups, totaling 18 people, do not constitute a scientific sample of the Missouri electorate, but their opinions closely parallel what The Post and other news organizations have found in recent national polls, and their animated conversations provided a greater understanding of the challenges confronting both candidates."

The title of this article (and post) is both good and bad. It is bad because the impression created pertains to the entire state, even while subtitled: "Neither Bush Nor Kerry Impresses Focus Groups". The two portions of the title are not only mismatched, they conflict with the excerpt above.

The title is also good because the impression created pertains to the entire state, a sentiment which, if true, would seem to identify a large pool of people potentially sympathetic to the No Confidence campaign. True or not (likely unknowable), simply printing this headline reinforces the paradigm GuvWurld hopes to sustain.

It will not be the least bit surprising if a scandal about phony surveys erupts in the coming weeks and months. This space will continue to catalog additional justifications for declaring no confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the US electoral process.

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Eureka Times-Standard Re-Print of GuvWurld Letter To The Editor

I finally got this set up. See a scan of the newspaper here. Note that the letter begins at the bottom of column one and continues at the top of column two so the whole thing is divided onto two pages here with a section in the middle completely removed. It is also rather small so you may want to go to the View menu and use the Zoom function to enlarge for easier reading.

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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Vets For Peace Confirm VNC Presentation

On Thursday, May 13 at 7pm, I'll be addressing the Arcata, CA chapter of Veterans For Peace regarding the Vote of No Confidence resolution. It is worth noting that this meeting is NOT being held on May 6 because group members (and me too) are planning to attend the special showing of The Corporation at the Minor Theater in Arcata. This movie deals with the huge issue of Corporate Personhood (.pdf) and has been hailed as the next Bowling For Columbine. I haven't yet had a chance to write much about CP here but I would like to acknowledge the great work of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and also Persons, Inc. Anyway, I can't think of a better reason to delay the meeting a week. Plus, this allows for a lot more follow-up to happen from the Peace and Justice Center meeting on May 5 (6pm).

I have also confirmed that the Eureka Times-Standard did indeed run my recent letter to the editor. Because their website doesn't display such content, I went to the newspaper office and bought a hard copy. I also met briefly with the editor and gave him a flier (.doc) for the PJC event. He was polite and respectful, challenging me somewhat but also allowing that I am pushing the envelope in a credible, reasoned and newsworthy way. He said they would run an event announcement and try to get a reporter to the meeting (the Arcata City Council meeting may preclude this). Later, another paper staffer called for comment.

I still intend to add the printed letter to the GuvWurld archive but my scanner is not cooperating. The page is also laid out awkwardly with my letter beginning at the bottom of column one and finishing at the top of column two. It won't all fit on a single page unless I cut it all up which will look crappy.

Regarding my recent discovery of Dr. Robert Bowman, whose positions I complimented here, I did call him as promised. Much to my surprise, he personally answered my call. He was kind and courteous enough to speak with me for about five minutes. He then asked me to e-mail him more info on the VNC resolution. I received a perplexing reply about two hours later merely saying thanks and good luck. I expect a man supposedly running for president will not object to a more persistent request for comment from a person in support of his platform.

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